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Åberopandet av anonyma vittnesuppgifter - En analys av intressekollisionen mellan fri bevisföring och den tilltalades rättigheter

Andersson, Malin LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Åberopandet av bevis i de svenska domstolarna styrs av principen om fri bevisföring, som ger parterna rätt att presentera de bevis de önskar, utan krav om att beviset ska ha tillkommit i enlighet med viss reglering. Från denna princip finns dock vissa undantag. Bevis som härstammar från en anonym källa har ansetts utgöra ett sådant undantag, på grund av oförenligheten med processrättens krav och principer. En process ska vara rättssäker och förutsebar. Kravet på rättssäkerhet kan delas upp i olika principer om tillvägagångssätt som måste följas. Det krävs att den tilltalade erhåller insyn till alla omständigheter som grundar domslut samt har rätt att motsäga och framföra egna ståndpunkter inför rätten. Bevisning ska, med vissa undantag,... (More)
Åberopandet av bevis i de svenska domstolarna styrs av principen om fri bevisföring, som ger parterna rätt att presentera de bevis de önskar, utan krav om att beviset ska ha tillkommit i enlighet med viss reglering. Från denna princip finns dock vissa undantag. Bevis som härstammar från en anonym källa har ansetts utgöra ett sådant undantag, på grund av oförenligheten med processrättens krav och principer. En process ska vara rättssäker och förutsebar. Kravet på rättssäkerhet kan delas upp i olika principer om tillvägagångssätt som måste följas. Det krävs att den tilltalade erhåller insyn till alla omständigheter som grundar domslut samt har rätt att motsäga och framföra egna ståndpunkter inför rätten. Bevisning ska, med vissa undantag, presenteras direkt och inför rätten. De bevis som presenteras ska även utgöra det bästa bevismaterialet. Processen ska vara muntlig och rätten äger endast döma på grundval av den bevisning som presenterats under huvudförhandlingen. Principer som dessa finns för att garantera en rättssäker process, där den tilltalades rättigheter tillgodoses på ett tillfredställande sätt. I bedömningen av om anonyma vittnesmål kan tillåtas spelar dessa principer en viktig roll, eftersom de hittills har ansetts hindra ett åberopande av vittnesuppgifter från en okänd källa.

Praxis från Europadomstolen visar att anonyma vittnesmål inte under alla förhållanden står i strid med artikel 6, under förutsättning att försvarets rättigheter har blivit tillgodosedda. Detta innebär bland annat rätt till insyn och en möjlighet att motsäga presenterade uppgifter. Föreligger brist i det avseendet kan anonyma vittnesuppgifter tillåtas ändå, förutsatt att uppgifterna vinner stöd av annan utredning i målet. Frågan om anonyma vittnesmål har även behandlats i svenska domstolar, där HD i ett fall diskuterar tillåtligheten och bevisvärdet av ett bevis härstammande från en anonym källa, istället för direkt avvisning.

Vittnen utgör, tillsammans med kriminalteknisk bevisning, det viktigaste bevismedlet för åklagaren i dennes strävan att binda den tilltalade till det åtalade brottet. Det är därför av yttersta vikt att vittnen vågar träda fram och sanningsenligt berätta vad de vet. Undersökningar från bland annat BRÅ visar att otillåten påverkan av bevispersoner är ett problem, vilket föranleder att alltfler rättegångar ställs in på grund av att kallade vittnen inte inställer sig vid förhandlingsdagen. Efter att SVT under 2012 presenterade en undersökning angående bevispersoners ställning i den rättsliga processen lyftes en debatt om tillåtande av anonyma vittnesmål, i syfte att stärka vittnesskyddet. Åsikter emot ett sådant införande har främst hävdat att den rättsliga processen inte längre skulle vara rättssäker, främst eftersom den tilltalades rätt till insyn och kontradiktion inte skulle kunna tillgodoses på ett tillfredställande sätt. Förespråkarna för en möjlighet att vittna anonymt har anfört att sådana rättssäkerhetsförluster kan kompenseras genom att den anonyma bevisningen erläggs ett lägre bevisvärde. (Less)
Abstract
The presenting of evidence within Swedish courts is controlled by the principle of free production of evidence, which gives the parties a right to refer to any evidence, without any requirements regarding its conception. There are however a few exceptions. Evidence originating from anonymous sources has been considered an exception, due to the discrepancy between such evidence and the principles of the Swedish Procedural Code. A trial shall be predictable and conducted in accordance with the rule of law, from which a number of procedural principles can be identified. The defendant has a right to full insight in all circumstances upon which the judgment is based, and a right to rebut presented arguments, including a right to present contra... (More)
The presenting of evidence within Swedish courts is controlled by the principle of free production of evidence, which gives the parties a right to refer to any evidence, without any requirements regarding its conception. There are however a few exceptions. Evidence originating from anonymous sources has been considered an exception, due to the discrepancy between such evidence and the principles of the Swedish Procedural Code. A trial shall be predictable and conducted in accordance with the rule of law, from which a number of procedural principles can be identified. The defendant has a right to full insight in all circumstances upon which the judgment is based, and a right to rebut presented arguments, including a right to present contra evidence. According to the principle of oral proceedings, the trial must be oral and the court may only base its judgment on evidence that has been presented during the main hearing. These principles, along with some others, exist to ensure the defendant a legally secure trial, where the rights of the accused are met in a satisfactory manner. These principles play a significant role in the assessment whether a witness should be granted anonymity, as they have so far been considered to prevent a reliance on witness statements from an unknown source.

Practice from the European Court of Human Rights shows that anonymous testimonies do not under all circumstances contravene Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, provided that the rights of the accused have been satisfied. This includes a right of full insight in the procedure and a right to offer evidence in disproof. Statements from anonymous witnesses can be allowed regardless of a deficiency in this respect, provided that other evidence in the case supports the testimony. The issue of anonymous statements have been considered in Swedish courts, and the Supreme Court (HD) have on occasion discussed the legality and the probative value of evidences deriving from anonymous sources, instead of declaring the evidence prima facie inadmissible.

Statements by witnesses are, along with forensic evidence, the most substantial evidence for the prosecutor in his strives to tie the defendant to the charged offence. It is therefore of utmost importance that witnesses feels secure to come forward and truthfully tell their story. A survey from the Swedish Council of Crime Prevention (BRÅ) shows that unlawful influence on witnesses is a problem which leads to an increasing number of trials being cancelled as witnesses called on to testify does not appear at the hearing. Following a survey presented by the Swedish Television in 2012 regarding witnesses’ role in the legal process, the question of the admissibility of anonymous evidence was raised. Opinions that the legal process would no longer be legally secure according to the rule of law as a consequence of accepting such witnesses were uttered. Proponents of the opportunity to testify anonymously argued that decreasing the value of anonymously provided evidences could compensate such legal losses. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Andersson, Malin LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The presenting of anonymous testimonials in courts – a study of the conflict of interest between the principle of free production of evidence and the rights of the defendant
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
straffrätt, processrätt
language
Swedish
id
3801363
date added to LUP
2013-06-13 15:14:02
date last changed
2013-06-13 15:14:02
@misc{3801363,
  abstract     = {The presenting of evidence within Swedish courts is controlled by the principle of free production of evidence, which gives the parties a right to refer to any evidence, without any requirements regarding its conception. There are however a few exceptions. Evidence originating from anonymous sources has been considered an exception, due to the discrepancy between such evidence and the principles of the Swedish Procedural Code. A trial shall be predictable and conducted in accordance with the rule of law, from which a number of procedural principles can be identified. The defendant has a right to full insight in all circumstances upon which the judgment is based, and a right to rebut presented arguments, including a right to present contra evidence. According to the principle of oral proceedings, the trial must be oral and the court may only base its judgment on evidence that has been presented during the main hearing. These principles, along with some others, exist to ensure the defendant a legally secure trial, where the rights of the accused are met in a satisfactory manner. These principles play a significant role in the assessment whether a witness should be granted anonymity, as they have so far been considered to prevent a reliance on witness statements from an unknown source. 

Practice from the European Court of Human Rights shows that anonymous testimonies do not under all circumstances contravene Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, provided that the rights of the accused have been satisfied. This includes a right of full insight in the procedure and a right to offer evidence in disproof. Statements from anonymous witnesses can be allowed regardless of a deficiency in this respect, provided that other evidence in the case supports the testimony. The issue of anonymous statements have been considered in Swedish courts, and the Supreme Court (HD) have on occasion discussed the legality and the probative value of evidences deriving from anonymous sources, instead of declaring the evidence prima facie inadmissible.

Statements by witnesses are, along with forensic evidence, the most substantial evidence for the prosecutor in his strives to tie the defendant to the charged offence. It is therefore of utmost importance that witnesses feels secure to come forward and truthfully tell their story. A survey from the Swedish Council of Crime Prevention (BRÅ) shows that unlawful influence on witnesses is a problem which leads to an increasing number of trials being cancelled as witnesses called on to testify does not appear at the hearing. Following a survey presented by the Swedish Television in 2012 regarding witnesses’ role in the legal process, the question of the admissibility of anonymous evidence was raised. Opinions that the legal process would no longer be legally secure according to the rule of law as a consequence of accepting such witnesses were uttered. Proponents of the opportunity to testify anonymously argued that decreasing the value of anonymously provided evidences could compensate such legal losses.},
  author       = {Andersson, Malin},
  keyword      = {straffrätt,processrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Åberopandet av anonyma vittnesuppgifter - En analys av intressekollisionen mellan fri bevisföring och den tilltalades rättigheter},
  year         = {2013},
}